Three youths including a police constable were arrested after they were beaten by locals for allegedly extorting money from businessmen of a bazar at Sitakunda upazila of Chattogram on Tuesday night.
The three arrestees are Md Sohel Rana (28), Md Imran (27) and Md Monaf (25), said police sources.
Among the arrestees, Md Sohel Rana is a police constable of Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP), said police.
CMP officials told this newspaper that Sohel Rana has a history of drug-addiction and departmental action is underway against him over the issue.
Police and local sources at Sitakunda said the incident took place at Boro Kumira Bazaar area behind the Royal Cement factory at around 8:00pm.
Local sources claimed the constable and his two aids came to the market in civil dress at the bazaar and introduced himself as a Sub-Inspector (SI) of Sitakunda police station. During the exchange, he was carrying a holstered gun at his waist. Sohel Rana charged the grocery shop owners, asking why the shops were open amid the countrywide shutdown, reports witnesses.
The shop owners came out of the shops and fled the scene fearing further harassment and at one point Sohel started to take money out from the cash boxes inside the shops in absence of the owners.
Local journalists said the businessmen thrashed the trio at the spot after catching the police constable and his aides red-handed while looting the cash boxes.
"Seeing the incident, local businessmen gathered at the area and cordoned off the trio and informed local union parishad members and police," said Sheikh Firoj Hossain Molla, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Sitakunda Police Station, told the Daily Star.
"Police rushed to the spot and arrested the trio. We informed the matter to our higher authority," said the OC.
A case was filed against the trio under the Speedy Trial Act in this connection.
Contacted, Amir Zafar, Deputy Commissioner (DC) (Headquarters) of CMP, said "Sohel Rana is a drug addict person and he has been absent from police lines for last four months."
"A departmental action against him is now under process over drug addiction charges. Following the Sitakunda incident, he was suspended," told the DC.